Like many countries in South America, Chile is famously friendly to families, no doubt inspired by the great cultural importance that Chileans place on family and children. That said, the country’s unique geography, spread over the 5,000 kilometers of its elongated shape, can be a big challenge for young travelers. The Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth, while definitely unforgettable, is all the way in the north of Chile and Patagonia is very far in the south.
Fortunately, there is a welcome host of outstanding kid-ready diversions right in the middle of the country, in an area fittingly known as Middle Chile or Central Chile. They promise full satisfaction, but without as much wild unpredictability, travel time or cost. Better yet, Middle Chile’s top family attractions are within easy striking distance of Santiago, Chile’s capital city, greatest metropolis and most likely point of departure for journeys in the country.
The best times to visit Middle Chile are the seasons of spring (September to November), when green nature is resurgent, and autumn (March through May), when the foliage is changing color, grapes are in harvest and temperatures, crowd sizes and prices are dropping.
Here are some outstanding examples of pleasant beachfront communities, outdoor escapes and easygoing agricultural towns that deliver a full menu of family-friendly enticements, not the least of which is the delicious cuisine.